Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry was not drunk during his now-infamous speech in New Hampshire over the weekend before Cornerstone Action, a conservative group, according to the group's executive director Kevin Smith, The Hill reports.
Smith, who says he invited the Texas governor to give the speech, which went viral after being posted on YouTube, where it had yielded nearly 900,000 hits as of Wednesday afternoon, said he was with Perry for much of the evening and that the governor was dead-sober during his remarks, according to The Hill.
I can tell you unequivocally he wasn't drinking at the event and he hadn't been drinking prior to the event, Smith, who has not made an endorsement for the 2012 election, told The Hill. I was sitting with him, and I found him to be very engaging with all of the people he was talking with, he was very articulate.
The Perry campaign has denied rumors that Perry was intoxicated during the event and said that the loopy performance was a result of him being a passionate speaker.
When I started seeing all of the blog stuff going up on Sunday and the video going viral it caught me by surprise, said Smith, The Hill reported. He was definitely more animated than we've seen him during the campaign but the reports that he was buzzed or whatever never crossed any of our minds.
The speech was chock-full of giggling, wide smiles, sweeping hand gestures, and other odd weirdness, prompting others to suggest that if he wasn't drunk he must have at least been on prescription meds, but Smith told The Hill he believes it was all just a big dose of animation.
The people there loved the speech. The reaction I was getting was 'wow, he hit it out of the park' -- people were saying that was the Perry they wished they'd see during the debates, he said. He was loose and passionate. He got a great reaction from the audience.